Avici, Avīci, Avīcī, Āvīci: 16 definitions

Introduction

Avici means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Avichi.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Avīci (अवीचि).—One of the twentyeight hells. The following are the twentyeight hells: (1) Raurava (2) Sūkara (3) Rodha (4) Tāla (5) Viṣāsana (6) Mahājvāla (7) Taptakumbha (8) Lavaṇa (9) Vilohita (10) Rudhirāmbhas (11) Vaitaraṇi (12) Kṛmīśa (13) Kṛmibhojana (14) Asipatravana (15) Kṛṣṇa (16) Lālābhakṣa (17) Dāruṇa (18) Pāyavāha (19) Pāpa (20) Vahnijvāla (21) Adhaśśiras (22) Sandaṃśa (23) Kālasūtra (24) Tamas (25) Avīci (26) Śvabhojana (27) Apratiṣṭha (28) Aprāci. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 2, Chapter 6).

The hell called Avīci is described thus: "This is the hell meant for those who stand false witness, who take false oath and false name. The soldiers of Yama will push these false people into the hell of Avīci, from the top of a mount which is a hundred yojanas (league) high. The place of Avīci, like the waves of the ocean, is swelling and falling and swaying and surging always. When sinners fall there their bodies will be crumbled to pieces. Their life will enter into new bodies and then the punishment will be repeated again and again." (Devī Bhāgavata, Skandha 8).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1) Avīci (अवीचि).—One of the 28 hells—a structure with no support to stand on. Here are punished false witnesses and wrong givers of gifts.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 26. 7 and 28.

2) Avīcī (अवीची).—The fifth hell under the earth; torture by machinery.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 179, 182; 112. 11.

3) Āvīci (आवीचि).—A hell.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 6. 4.
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam

Avīci (अवीचि) refers to one of the thirty hells (naraka) mentioned in the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa 8.21 (on the narrative of hells). The hells are destinations where dead beings brought by messengers of Yama (the God of the Pitṛs), and get punished by him according to their karmas and faults.

The Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa or Śrīmad-devī-bhāgavatam (mentioning Avīci), is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, a type of Sanskrit literature containing cultural information on ancient India, religious/spiritual prescriptions and a range of topics concerning the various arts and sciences. The whole text is composed of 18,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 6th century.

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

One of the eight great purgatories (mahaniraya) (J.v.266). It is ten thousand leagues in extent and forms part of a cakkavala (SnA.ii.443).

The Milindapanha (p.5), however, places it outside the sphere of the earth. Spence Hardy (Manual of Buddhism, p.26) mentions a tradition which says that Avici is seven hundred miles directly under the Bodhi Tree at Gaya. In later books, e.g. the Dhammapada Commentary, it is represented as being under the earth, for we are told that the earth opened wide to allow the flames of Avici to escape and to drag down sinners into its bowels (E.g., DhA.i.127, 147; iii.181). It seems to have been specially designed for those who had committed very grievous crimes, among whom are

Devadatta;

Cunda, the pork butcher;

Ananda, who raped his cousin the Theri Uppalavanna;

the ascetic Jambuka, who in a previous birth had insulted an arahant;

the murderer of the Pacceka Buddha Sunetta;

Sivali, who in a former birth had blockaded a city for seven years;

Suppabuddha, who insulted the Buddha;

Mallikka, because of her misbehaviour with a dog (she was only there seven days);

Cinca Manavika, because she falsely accused the Buddha;

and Kapila, brother of Sodhana, for reviling pious monks.

For details and references see under these names; see also Mil.357.

According to Buddhaghosa, Avici is often called Maha Niraya (AA.i.376). Descriptions of it are to be found in several places in the four Nikayas (E.g., M.iii.183; A.i.141-2). It is a quadrangular space, one hundred leagues each way, four doored, walled all round and above with steel and with floor of incandescent molten steel.

The Dhammapadatthakatha gives a description of the tortures that await the entrant to Avici. When, for instance, Devadatta entered there, his body became one hundred leagues in height, his head, as far as the outer ear, entered into an iron skull; his feet sank up to the ankles in iron, an iron stake as thick as the trunk of a palmyra tree came from the west wall, pierced the small of his back and, penetrating his breast, entered the east wall. Other similar stakes came from the south and from the north and transfixed him (DhA.i.148).

The fire of Avici is so powerful that it destroys the eyes of anyone looking at it from a distance of one hundred leagues (A.i.142). It would destroy in a moment a rock as large as a gabled house, yet beings born there remain undestroyed, as though reposing in their mothers womb (DhA.i.127; Mil.67).

Beings born in Avici suffer for periods of varying lengths; thus, Mallika, Pasenadis queen, remained only for seven days (DhA.iii.121), while Devadatta is destined to pass there 100,000 kappas (DhA.i.148).

The Sutta Nipata (p.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

M (That which is totally devoid of pleasure). avici is the name given to the most painful hell.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

is the name of one of the most frightful hells (niraya).

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Avīci (अवीचि) refers to one of the eight great hells according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—Accordingly, “The bodhisattva sees the Avīci hell, four thousand li in size, surrounded by iron walls and situated even deeper than the seven hells. The rākṣasa guardians hammer the damned with great iron hammers like blacksmiths hammering out iron. They crush them from head to foot. They pin out and stretch their bodies with five hundred nails, like an ox-hide is stretched. The damned drag themselves along and tear themselves apart with their hands. A fiery iron chariot rolls over their bodies”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: academia.edu: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Avīcī (अवीची) is the name of a Ḍākinī who, together with the Vīra (hero) named Avīci forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Cittacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the cittacakra refers to one of the three divisions of the nirmāṇa-puṭa (‘emanation layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Avīcī] and Vīras are black in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Avīci (अवीचि) refers to the “never-ceasing hell” and represents one of the “eight hot hells” (uṣṇa-naraka) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 121). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., avīci). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

avīci : (adj.) waveless. (f.) one of the great hells.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Avīci, (B. Sk. avīci a + vīci (?) no intermission, or no pleasure (?), unknown, but very likely popular etym. ) 1. avīciniraya, one of the (great) hells (see niraya), described in vivid colours at many passages of the Pāli canon, e.g. at Vin. II, 203 = It. 86; Nd1 18, 347, 405 = Nd2 304 IIID; Ps. I, 83; Dhs. 1281; J. I, 71, 96; III, 182; IV, 159; DhA. I, 148; PvA. 52; SnA 290; Sdhp. 37, 194; Pgdp 5 sq. ; etc etc.—2. disintegration, decay Vism. 449 (a. jarā nāma). (Page 85)

Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Avīci (अवीचि).—a. Waveless.

-ciḥ Name of a particular hell; अवीचिमन्धतामिस्रं कुम्भीपाकं तथैव च (avīcimandhatāmisraṃ kumbhīpākaṃ tathaiva ca) Y.3.224. °मयः (mayaḥ) a place of punishment for liars (yatra jalamiva sthalamaśmapṛṣṭhamavabhāsate Bhāg.)

-saṃśoṣaṇaḥ A particular Samādhi.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Avīci (अवीचि).—m. or f. (in Sanskrit only m.; rarely also f. in Pali, see Critical Pali Dictionary s.v.), name of a hell (= Sanskrit and Pali id.), a hot hell according to Mahāvyutpatti 4927 and Dharmasaṃgraha 121; passim. Fem. e.g. Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā 30.16 (verse) dāruṇam (short -a- m.c.) avīcīm (end of line). Most forms, of course, are ambiguous as to gender. Cf. āvīci.

--- OR ---

Āvīci (आवीचि).—name of a hell: °cim ādiṃ kṛtvā Lalitavistara 86.11 (prose), so both edd. without v.l.; but Lefm.'s Index reads avīci, referring to this passage.

Āvīci can also be spelled as Avīci (अवीचि).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Avīci (अवीचि).—m.

(-ciḥ) A hell. mfn. (-ciḥ-ciḥ-ci) Waveless. E. a neg. vīci a wave.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Avīci (अवीचि).—I. adj. waveless. Ii. m. a hell, [Yājñavalkya, (ed. Stenzler.)] 3, 224.

Avīci is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms a and vīci (वीचि).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Avīci (अवीचि):—[=a-vīci] mfn. waveless, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

2) [v.s. ...] m. a particular hell, [Yājñavalkya iii, 224; Buddhist literature etc.]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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